Friday, December 4, 2009

Dickens Hated Shakespeare

Not really. The Morgan Library currently has Charles Dickens's original manuscript for A Christmas Carol on display (see here). It is of particular interest as it shows all the corrections and omissions to and from the published text we all know and love (and which has inspired such masterpieces as the current Jim Carrey film). The Morgan has allowed the New York Times to scan the whole of the manuscript for online viewing - you can find that here. And, because you can never have enough links in a post, here is an article about the exhibit, including a special contest issued by Declan Kiely, the curator of the Morgan's department of literary and historical manuscripts. Readers are invited to look over the manuscript and try to find what they feel is the most interesting edit, and to submit it in the comments section of that article; the winner - the person who finds the most intriguing change - will be invited to an afternoon tea at the Morgan with Mr. Kiely. Is this awesome? (Y/N).
The manuscript itself is really interesting for Dickens fans and Christmas fans and people with a lot of time on their hands, and the corrections are often enlightening and/or entertaining, if manuscripts are your bag. For instance: on the first page, Dickens insults Hamlet in a passage missing from the published text. Apparently he thought better of it, realizing that people really like Shakespeare, and Hamlet is kind of hallowed ground. Still though, makes Dickens even cooler I say. My favorite change? Stave V, page 62, after Scrooge has woken up from the ghost's visits and asks a passing boy whether he's missed Christmas:

"What's to-day?" cried Scrooge, calling downward to a boy in Sunday clothes, who perhaps had loitered in to look about him.

"Eh?" returned the boy, with all his might of wonder.

"What's to-day, my fine fellow?" said Scrooge.

"Today!" replied the boy. "Why, January 15th."

"Damn."

Okay, so that's not in there. Anyway, submissions are due by December 16th, so get reading!

1 comment:

jenniferknode said...

I went to Library School with that guy. Not Dickens, obvs, but Declan.